Saddle Fit: Keep It Simple
People travel all over the country to bring their horses to our shop to have them properly fitted to a saddle. So what is the secret to saddle fit? Here is the simple method we use when fitting a saddle to a horse. Maybe it will work for you too!
First things first, keep it simple. We don’t live in a perfect world so don’t expect to always find a perfect fit. Some times you have to make due with what you have to work with, or you may never actually get to ride your horse.
Don’t create a problem when there isn’t one. Often people come into the shop looking for a fix to a problem they really don’t have. If your horse isn’t getting sore or the hair isn’t changing color-Don’t fix what isn’t broke.
Saddle fit is all about surface area. We want the pressure to be equal all the way across the bar.
Saddle Fit Checklist
- Use the thinnest blanket possible. Padding should be used to improve the fit of the saddle not make a saddle fit.
- Set the saddle on the horse, making sure to not set the saddle over the point of the shoulder. The shoulder is mobile, so if the shoulder can’t move you can’t expect the horse to be comfortable.
- Push straight down on the stirrup (Don’t rock it). We want to make sure the saddle doesn’t slide. We want to make sure that it moves back into position with as little slippage as possible.
- Check the 3 Reference Points for equal pressure.
- At the base of the swells there will be a screw.
- Middle of the seat.
- Concho at the rear behind the seat.
Turn your hand palm down. Run it up under your saddle against your horses back at all three locations. You are checking the pressure at these points. We want to feel the same amount of pressure at all of these points.
If there is more pressure in one area this will only be worse once the rider is in the saddle. So the closer we can keep the pressure the same the more equal the riders weight will be distributed. This will give you a much more comfortable horse.
Remember horses are all individuals- so if the saddle fits, Ride it! Now, if you are also wondering what size saddle YOU need check out “What size saddle do I need?” Hope to see you there!
If you would like to learn more you can check out Ryan on RFD-TV talking about saddle fit with Steve Lanvit.